Vietnam's exports of textiles and garment products increased 5.1 percent to US$10.7 billion in the first six months, the slowest pace since 2010, which industry insiders attribute to the rise of new suppliers in the global market.
The downshift means the industry, which accounted for nearly 14 percent of the country's exports last year, is likely to miss the annual shipment target of $31 billion this year, according to news website Dau Tu.
Buyers are not cutting back purchases altogether but they are increasingly turning toward other suppliers such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar for lower import tariffs and thus lower prices, local media reported, citing industry insiders.
Vu Duc Giang, chairman of Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, told news website Bnews that Vietnam will have to wait at least two years before its free trade agreement with the EU and the Pacific-Rim trade pact TPP take effect. The former has been signed off but the latter is still waiting to be approved by each of the 12 member states.
At the moment, Vietnam's textile shipment is subject to an average tariff of 17 percent in the US and nearly 10 percent in the EU.
The industry's exports grew 8.2 percent to $22.63 billion last year, according to figures released by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam.
However, the industry's own data showed it actually shipped $27.2 billion worth of textiles and garments products in 2015, up more than 10 percent from the previous year.